Ina May Gaskin, Marsden Wagner Speak Out on Cytotec Induction of Birth
Nashville, TN NBC affiliate WSMV ran a piece in April on the use of the anti-ulcer drug Cytotec in the induction of labor, which was just brought to my attention via Well Preserved. From the piece:
The manufacturer of the drug warns against it for speeding up childbirth, and the Food and Drug Administration has never approved it for that purpose and has issued an alert against using it in childbirth.
Despite these warnings, local ob/gyn Jeffrey Lodge was quoted for the story as saying,
“I don’t know anyone in the middle Tennessee area who doesn’t use Cytotec in one way or another. We use so many medicines off label, but Cytotec today is within the standard of care for obstetrics.”
That’s great – the manufacturer *and* the FDA warn against using it for this purpose, but what’s a little off-label drug use in birth? The reporter notes one problem – women aren’t aware that this isn’t a standard, approved drug for the purpose – “Patients have said that at many Nashville hospitals, doctors gave them no indication that there’s a controversy about using Cytotec to induce birth.”
Renowned Farm midwife Ina May Gaskin weighed in, commenting:
“With any kind of induction where you’re really revving up the uterus and making it work harder than it would on its own, you run some risk…I’m not saying every woman is in danger. I don’t think that. It’s just the Russian Roulette aspect of it because we’re not able to tell which women are gonna have this long latent reaction or ultra sensitivity some people seem to have.”
The WSMV piece also profiles families who have filed suit due to complications following Cytotec inductions.
Dr. Marsden Wagner authored a commentary on Cytotec inductions for Midwifery Today which is well worth a read for background on the issue.